The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to Prince Harry, who will join a team of war veterans trekking to the South Pole to raise awareness for wounded soldiers. The 200-mile race for Walking With the Wounded features three teams comprised of military veterans and a celebrity; Harry is the only celeb who has served in combat. At a reception at Buckingham Palace, the prince introduced the team participants to Queen Elizabeth, addressing her as “Granny.” A charitable effort within character and down-to-earth charm have taken Harry further than the South Pole from the embarrassment of those nude Vegas photos and drunken escapades.

 The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Bloomberg News, which found the journalistic shoe on the other foot courtesy of The New York Times. Quoting at least four employee sources, the Times alleged that Bloomberg intentionally killed provocative news stories about China because the organization feared retribution by the Chinese government. The story continues to percolate despite a vehement denial from Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, whose refutation essentially claims the stories aren’t dead – they’re just sleeping. The well-sourced and detailed Times account gives an impression of veracity, while Winkler’s quasi repudiation rings hollow. Sometimes “no comment” is the right comment.

NSA The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO the National Security Agency, whose top lawyer told Congress this week the spy agency can’t determine how often it spies on Americans without spying on them more. Robert Litt, general counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy that it would be “very resource-intensive” for the NSA to identify the nationality of people whose data is collected indirectly – for example, the recipients of a surveillance target’s email. Doing so “would perversely require a greater invasion of that person’s privacy,” he said. That prompted Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota to observe: “Isn’t it a bad thing that the NSA doesn’t even have a rough sense of how many Americans have had their information collected under a law … that specifically prohibits targeting Americans?”

The People’s Prince

 The Peoples Prince

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry – excuse us, Captain Wales.

It’s a long way from Las Vegas to Afghanistan. That’s the distance Prince Harry has come from the mortifying nude photos that made headlines a few months ago to the somber, candid interviews he did this week as the prince’s tour of duty in Afghanistan came to a close.

Harry gave a series of interviews to world media, and in them, he seemed happiest when speaking about his time as “Captain Wales,” as he is known in his military unit. Rather than bragging about his ability to be a regular bloke, he was relishing it.

Of course he was asked about those revealing photos from Las Vegas, and Harry’s answer was PR perfection. “I let myself down, I let my family down,” he said. “But it was probably a classic example of me being too much army, and not enough prince.” Nice one! For a royal scandal, there could be no better solution than an honorable stint in the military. It is after all, the great leveller.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry , excuse us Captain Wales and the art of humility.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Sincerity is the PR buzzword. Lance Armstrong’s maneuver of confessing about doping to Oprah Winfrey largely flopped because of his complete lack of heartfelt emotion. By contrast, Prince Harry comes off as human. The Vegas scandal? It’s what people his age do all the time. The military? He’s honored and wishes he could continue. The Crown hasn’t had an easy time of PR management of late but sincerity can save the day. The trouble with Harry? After this media blitz? None at all.

Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

 Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry.

The headlines are too easy: “The Trouble With Harry.” “Dirty Harry.” Prince Harry’s escapade in Las Vegas—a strip poker game that ended with photos of a naked royal—was almost a gift to the tabloids. And yet the Crown may have a PR ace up its sleeve in Harry.

Harry has always been the heir apparent for royal scandal. As third in line for the throne, the pressure to conform to royal standards of propriety is relatively low. Need we go into his father’s anatomical declarations of love for Camilla Parker Bowles? Please, let’s not.

And yes, the young prince occasionally acts out. But this latest adventure had a curious side effect: Harry’s generation seems smitten with him. He is like his peers, caught in some NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) photos. Among Harry’s generation, fame—in any context—is gold. Sealing the turn from scandal to success was Harry’s appearance at a charity event, where he acknowledged his escapade with self-effacing humor (read about it here). Scandal averted, Harry is now the unlikely hero.

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry. If Buckingham Palace is smart, they’ll continue to rap Harry’s knuckles—and keep him in front of his adoring public, continuing his mother’s legacy: Could he become the People’s Prince?

The PR Takeaway: Mini-scandals can move the PR dial. After doing something naughty but harmless, a public appearance for charity and self-effacing humor are the golden tickets to winning the public’s, and the media’s, hearts. The ploy was used to excellent effect by Fred Willard in the US; days after the actor was caught with his pants down in an X-rated movie theater, he joked about the incident brilliantly on late night TV. Prince Harry should continue to do good works, which offset his occasional lad-like behavior; both bring a younger generation closer to the Crown.